Podcast specialist, Shannon, joins this episode to interview your podcast hosts to get to know them in a fun and personal way.
Intro: Welcome to The Financial Call. We are financial advisors on a mission to guide you through the financial planning everyone should have. Whether you're doing it yourself or working with a financial advisor, these episodes will help you break down complicated financial topics into practical, actionable steps. Our mission is to guide motivated people to become financially successful.
Laura: Hey, welcome back to The Financial Call. Today we are interviewing Zacc. We want to get to know him, he's one of our hosts here on the podcast. We also have Shannon here joining us, she is our TikTok star. So she's going to be doing the interviews. We thought it'd be kind of fun to pull her in. She's part of the podcast production team, she does a fantastic job. So we're having her join us today. Should we tell them Zacc this is actually a redo?
Zacc: Yes. I mean, this is quite embarrassing. You asked last time “What was one of my most embarrassing stories?” This is now becoming one of my most embarrassing stories. We recorded this episode already. And there were so many mistakes in it that we had to rerecord it by request of multiple people here at the firm.
Laura: Let it be known that we've never had to redo a podcast about finance, right? Zacc nailed those first time. But talking about himself, I guess…
Shannon: Talking about himself, he royally messed up.
Zacc: It's not - and the funny part is it's not even like, oh, you probably shouldn't have said this. Or you said “um” or “uh” too much. No, you completely shouldn't have talked about that. And it was maybe five categories and everybody's been so sweet, but it's like, you shouldn't say that. And now I feel bad cause everybody's going to be interested in what we didn't talk about today, but whatever we'll try our best. Bottom line is even Shannon asked me a question that wasn't on the approved list and I just fumbled for forever. Like you can't ask questions that are not on the pre-test.
Shannon: Okay. I just was winging it, pulling it out, trying to get a real reaction.
Zacc:Yeah, I screwed up and you got one, absolutely. So I've shut my computer. I did not review the list. I will do better I promise. I'm hoping that this requires a whole lot less post-production work by all the team. Anyway, the other episodes will be a whole lot easier. Let's just throw that out there.
Laura: It'll be great. We're excited. So why don't we jump right in? Shannon, you take the lead.
Shannon: Yeah, here we go. I want us to start off with how you came to Capita and how you got to doing this podcast.
Zacc: Let me clarify. Are you saying, like in particular, how did I get to Capita or how did I get into the industry in the first place that led me to Capita?
Shannon: Okay yeah, let's read it. Let's do, “How did you come to the industry and get to Capita?”
Zacc: Okay so my personality is such that I like two or three things that normally don't go together. One of them is artistic and design. One of them is math. And then one of them is people.
Laura: Does that mean you're left-brained and right-brained?
Zacc: I don't know what that means. I don't understand. I usually break the personality tests and they're like, “Are you confused? Because we're confused about you.” But most of the time I ended up really enjoying those three aspects. And to me, I thought, “You know what? There probably is a field that allows for that.” And I thought architecture was going to be it because an architect gets to design, uses a lot of math and coordinates with a lot of people. And so I thought those three things come together really well in that field.
I got working at an architectural firm during college and I was a runner. So I would carry these huge plans for hospitals. And I feel like I'm dating myself a little bit here because I'm sure this is all electronic now. But during college I had to carry these plans that - and you can't see me except for Laura and Shannon, but I'm holding up my hands in a diameter of like ten, eleven, twelve inches. And they were like three or four feet long. So they were really, really heavy. It would be kind of like carrying around like a barbell of like fifty pounds. And sometimes they'd hand me like, I'm probably exaggerating by the way, it was probably ten pounds. And it felt like fifty to me, but they'd sometimes have me take two sets of these plans to the hospital or to another place, and I had to carry them all around. And I got exposure to that firm while I was there. And my wife and I were married - no kids. We had just purchased a townhome. It was a perfect time to buy in 2007, right before the Great Recession caused by the housing crisis. So that was fun. But this was back in 2006, 2007, and I was running plans. And I learned that architects there worked for forever and didn't really have that much say in the design. They were just draftsmen and I'm sure there were some that moved up quickly. I just saw, and I realized how financially focused I was, because I started to ask a lot of questions about student loans and how much debt. And I remember talking to one guy who graduated from Virginia tech with $70,000 of student debt. And he made about $35,000 or $30,000 a year and had like three or four kids. And I couldn't figure out how he was even making ends meet, let alone paying off student debt. And so I saw that, and then I saw the long road of ten to fifteen to twenty years to work your way up to a principal at this firm. And it was really hard.
And then my wife called me one day and she was in tears. And she said, “I don't think this is working.” Now keep in mind, we've been married for six months. And so I didn't know what she was talking about. And she said, “Yeah, I just don't think this is going to work.” And so I'm like in my cubicle, at the office and I rushed into the stairwell and I'm like, “Give me a second. Hold on.” And I rushed in the stairwell and I'm like, “Listen, what do you mean?”
Laura: What did I do wrong?
Zacc: Right. And so she said, “I just don't know how we're going to make the ends meet with you continuing on this architectural path.” And I was like, “Oh, I thought you were saying you wanted a divorce. We've only been married for six months, give us some time.” And so then she was like, “No, no, no, no, no, no. I was talking about the architectural career path.” And I told her, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I need a new job. I just haven't figured out where to go yet. And I need to make some money in the meantime.”
So while I was researching, I knew several people that worked at a larger financial institution that paid for ninety percent of tuition. And I thought to myself, “Okay, there's numbers and people. There might not be that much design there, but there's numbers and strategy and people. Let's try that and see how it goes and see if I like it.” So I started working there and I got a couple of promotions and I started to enjoy it, but not to the level of like, this is my calling. I didn't feel at that time this is where I needed to be. So I always joke that I got into the industry for tuition reimbursement. And then I finally got a few jobs where I started to have a little bit more autonomy and a little more control over things.
However, I always felt like I was being told to just kind of play your role. Don't think outside the box too far, you're going outside the lines. I always had great intentions, but I was always just outside the lines, kind of suggesting new ways of doing things. And my managers were always saying like, “You just need to perform better in the job that you have.” Not that I was underperforming, but they wanted me to stop focusing on all those other things. And so I needed a bigger sandbox to be able to play in and have people be happy about that. I didn't know what that meant though. And I started to just not love the situation I was in and the management I was under.
And so Michael Littledike is the founder of Capita. He knew someone who worked at that financial institution and asked for a referral. And Mike called me and offered me a job, and I said, “No, I don't know who you are”. And then he was persistent. And so we finally started talking and I came over. And the business was just growing so fast. He has this ability to attract people to him, and he's so…he's a visionary, right? And he's so fun to be around and so smart and can do math in his head so fast. And it's somewhat infuriating when he gets the same number you do and you're doing it on a calculator. It's a little bit bothersome, right?
But he didn't quite have the personality or patience to design the systems around it. So all of a sudden I landed in this spot where I had a big, huge sandbox with nobody telling me I couldn't do anything. In fact, Mike actually encouraged me to do anything I thought was good. And I had the opportunity to talk to people and deal with finances and numbers and strategies. It was like those three things all came together. And it couldn't have happened without someone like Mike who was so trusting to be able to say go for it. If you think it's a good thing, go for it. And if you mess up, that's okay. We can mess up lots of times, but we just have to be right about some things. And in terms of you know, strategies and what we decided to do as a business - now I'm not talking about investments, but I'm talking about hiring people or marketing strategies and things like that. So anyway, that's how it all came together.
And then I approached Mike and said, “Listen, I love this, I need this. To be partners with you in it.” And at that point, Tyler and Mike and I formed a partnership that later Cassie and Bart bought into as well. Both who are - Cassie started here before I did, and Tyler as well. Anyway, so we have five partners now and we hired somebody yesterday and it seems like we hired somebody about every week recently. So we're now up to about thirty-six I think. Is that right?
Laura:I don't even know. We'll send out a picture. This is the new person here.
Zacc: Yeah, it does feel a little bit bad when you don't know how many employees you have but in all fairness, Cassie is hiring people like crazy to keep up, which is good.
Shannon: So you know, then your wife is just good? You're successful now.
Zacc: She seems to be okay with it I think. I mean, at that time we had a mortgage that was, it doesn't sound like a lot, but it felt like a ton at the time. It was I think $1,200 and the HOA was another hundred dollars. And every single month we, I think we had like $3000, $4,000 in savings at the time, and every single month that number got smaller and smaller. And so we never ended up in a lot of trouble, necessarily. But my sweet wife was able to see the writing on the wall. And she was so scared to approach me about it. And that's why she was in tears because she felt like she was killing my little dream that I had built up. And the best part is I had already gotten rid of the dream and I just was glad she wasn't divorcing me.
Shannon: So now that you had found your place, how would you define success in your field?
Zacc: That's a good question. I'm going to explain how I define it, because I think different people define it in this business differently, right? Some people will use metrics like how many assets you manage, or you know, how many employees you have, or how many states you're in and things like that. For me, it is very specific to the households that we take care of. So it's like, my personal mission is to deliver financial planning, or superior financial planning to as many households as possible. And we have different ways of doing that. But to me, success is adding. Like we have around two thousand households right now that we help. If we could get that to a much greater number where I know that ten thousand people have successful retirement plans and successful overall financial plans, that to me is extremely exciting. And I know personally that I cannot reach ten thousand people. So we need advisors. People like Laura, who will come in and have individual households that she will take care of and ensure that they get enough time and attention to really have a strong financial picture.
And then this podcast is part of that, too right? So the podcast is designed to get superior financial planning out to as many households as possible, even if they are not customers of ours right? And I do think there are a lot of people out there who are either in a spot where they don't have the ability to pay for advice, or they are only attracting…I want to figure out how to say this right, so we don't have compliance or someone else to tell me I can't say that. But I'm trying to not make mistakes here, but the point is: There are some bad actors in the industry, let's just put it that way. There are people who are interested in their own commission or their own interests greater than the client. And that's why this whole push for fiduciary has come because the industry is trying to solve for that. However, it's not perfect and no matter you know what type of licensing and fiduciary and not that you have, conflicts of interest arise. And to me, the podcast is a way completely free of conflict that someone can get free advice, or probably not advice but education, right? Free education around what they should and shouldn't do with their money, or at least ideas of things they should explore without having that conflict. Like there's no sign up necessarily. You know what I mean? Like they don't have to pay for it. They just get it for free and they can improve their financial lives. So in other words, if we can take and really help one-on-one, personally more households, that would be a success to me. If we can push this podcast out to the point where we're having thousands and thousands and thousands of people download every single episode, then that would be huge success for me. Because that means that there are a ton of people out there who are in a better spot and are going to be happier as a result of it.
And then lastly, it's not just about having a financial planning customer in my mind. It's about taking the things that really moved the needle on finances that usually are only available to high net worth families and bringing that down to normal people. I think that normal people should understand donor advised funds. But that's been reserved for high, high net worth families and it shouldn't be because it's accessible from an account minimum standpoint and technology. It's not that hard once you know what's going on to run one. I don't want to make anybody feel bad by saying it's not hard. It's not impossible once you understand the mechanics of it and how it works to run one on their own if they want it to. But it's been a high net worth thing only, and I think it should be available for the masses. So when I say bring superior financial planning to as many people as possible, what I mean is bring strategies and knowledge that was usually only reserved for the high net worth families down to the core family, and then get it out for free in the podcast. Or if people want to explore Capita as a client, and then we try to take over and help as much as possible. That's great too.
Shannon: Let's get you talking out of your comfort zone out of financial planning.
Zacc: This is where I mess up.
Shannon: Get down personal. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live and why?
Zacc: Okay quick clarifying question - are you saying I'd have to live there forever or for a period of time? Because that changes it for me.
Shannon: If you could settle down somewhere other than here in Utah. If you could live anywhere, where would you want?
Zacc: Oh, this is really hard. And I must have a really good life because I'm thinking to myself, like I want to live right where I live if I have to live there forever. I love where I live right now. Let's see…I would go someplace that doesn't have winters like we have winters here. I used to ski a lot and I got hurt skiing and I've never been back on the stick since, but that was basically the only thing that I enjoyed about winter. So I would probably…
Shannon: So Southern Utah?
Zacc: Yeah. For those of you who don't know there's a good, really warm town called St. George in Southern Utah that's just exploding. That would actually be pretty amazing. I actually love Phoenix, Arizona. Now I think…I don't know. I've never spent the summers there though. Last year we went three times to Phoenix for soccer tournaments for my daughter's team and my in-laws had a thing down there, and anyway it was just a coincidence. We hadn't been to Phoenix in a long time and we went three times in one year and I loved it. And I think St. George is not warm enough for me compared to here. It's only like five or ten degrees warmer, but Phoenix is good, fifteen it seems like. And I think I would do somewhere in that area. I think it'd be pretty great.
Or so I have to answer though. But if you could say, “Where could you live for a summer?” I would love to go live somewhere where there's a really cool beach. And I think we talked about this at one point - I secretly want to learn how to foil board, and I've never done it before. I've never even seen someone do it other than on Youtube. But I really want to try it. It's this surfboard. If anybody has ever done the air chair behind a boat where it has the mast that goes down and then the wings down below the water that lifts you up if you lean back. It's a surfboard with that instead of a chair at the top. And I'm, maybe this is because I'm getting older and I don't like the idea of as much impact, but people go do these foil boards on really, really small waves. Because there's so little resistance that they're able to just kind of float above the water and they can do it on small, slow waves. So I'm thinking, could I go just hang out on a foil board every morning and then have tacos on the beach and then walk around with my wife and find a new place to eat dinner every night or something like that? That would be the best summer ever.
Shannon: That sounds amazing.
Laura: I love how you explained the foil board making it sound like it's easier than surfing. I don't know if anyone will look it up - you're on this stick basically that you're balancing on. I think it looks impossible.
Zacc: I think it's really hard. I've actually heard it's incredibly difficult, which is why I feel like you wouldn't like a whole summer of working on it. But that just goes to my personality. To me I would love that, that challenge really would drive me.
So we went to Huntington beach once with my family and I paid to have a surfing lesson cause I'd never been surfing before. And my wife was so excited for me because she knew how excited I was, right? So she goes out on the dock and it was a little bit dark, the sun was behind so it was hard to see the faces of the people out there surfing. So my wife took all these pictures supposedly of me, yes, surfing. And I got back into the shore after hours of doing this right? And she said, “I got some pictures of you!” And she showed them. They were like legit professional surfers on six to nine foot waves. I don't know how she thought…I'm like, “You looked right past me. You know those little ones where the foam rolls over and the board is thirteen feet long so the person can stay on it? That was me.” And I could barely stay up on that thing. But the point is, I could have done that for six to ten hours straight because to me it's almost like a mathematical equation. Like, “Oh, I put my hands too far forward on the board. Next time I'm going to go down. Oh, I popped up too late. Oh I need to stand up earlier. Or…” To me that is fun, thinking through that over and over again.
Shannon: So you're talking about foil boarding, surfing, and you've mentioned skiing. So are you like an outdoorsy person? Do you like outdoor sports or what hobbies do you like to do here in Utah since you love it here?
Zacc: So to be honest with you, it was actually a very, very difficult thing for me in March of 2020. I tore my ACL skiing - snow skiing. And this was probably…this is really weird. This has been one of the most difficult things for me to go through. I've had cancer, but the knee was worse to me than that. Like, it's been brutal.
So during the recovery, at some point I lost cartilage on the bottom of my femur and that's something you can't fix. It was not like an injury, a second injury just gradually tore off. And so then basically at this point I cannot do anything much more than a very slow, I call it a grandpa jog, straight in a straight line. So if it comes to anything impact related, that's kind of why I want to try the full board because I think it might be a little smoother other than when you fall. But biking is really healthy for my knee.
So I mountain bike multiple times per week and I live by the mountains as well. And I have a little dog that's about seventeen pounds. And if that gives you an idea if you know dogs how big that is. But he's only like a foot to fourteen inches back off the ground. So he's not very big, but he can run for like five miles straight. So he does a pretty good job. So we go and we do this often at night because - being busy, so just about probably three or four times a week. I put a light on my helmet, a light on the handlebars of the bike, and we take off up into the mountains with the dog and I. And there are some really cool trails above my house called the Farm in Farmington. And they're really flowy trails where for mountain biking, that's a lot of ups and downs that are not…they don't jolt you a whole lot. And some of them are positioned in a way that you can catch a little bit of air, but then have a nice soft landing. And my goal is to stay on the ground because I'm old. And so then I go down the trail.
But I realized that my little dog, he gets tired at about four to four and a half miles at the loop. So I go up and then I do two loops on The Farm. And then there's a single track trail that takes me back to my house, that's up on the hill and it's about a five, five and a half mile loop. And so he gets tired. So I bought a backpack and this is where it's kind of ridiculous. So he just starts on the ground and we go up to the trails and I go down and then he runs back up and then I go down as well. And on the second climb, I put him in the backpack. And so to give you a…it is kind of ridiculous though, but to give you an image. So his hind legs and the back half of his body, sit inside the backpack. And then it has two slits out the front that he sticks his front paws out over my shoulders. And so his paws are sitting on my shoulders and he just looks around. And I can hear him panting when I first put him in because his head is right by my ears, right? And then I have a video of this by the way, Shannon, who's going to say, “I need a picture.” I have videos. I have everything. Okay so then I even bought a GoPro Extender because the video that I took of him, the camera was just looking at the back of my helmet. So I bought like an eight inch extender. So the GoPro will stick up eight inches off my head so that I can get a better picture.
I never was a dog person and now I am full on. Ridiculous. So anyway, I haul him up the hill and then when we get to the top I let him out for the last mile and he does fantastic for five, five and a half miles. But he didn't quite make it the four, four and a half, but the backpack fixes everything.
Shannon: I feel like it's always the people who aren't dog people that when they finally get a dog they pamper them the most.
Zacc: Oh yeah. And my wife has already put money down on another one. Just like him, different colors. There's going to be two of them. And now I'm trying to figure out, how am I going to go mountain biking with two, right? They make front packs too, I actually looked into this already. I'm wondering if I could have a front pack with all fours hanging out the front and then another one on the back so I could haul them both up the hill. It's funny.
Laura: Or they could take turns, I guess.
Shannon: I can't wait for that video.
Zacc: That's true. So that is my thing right now, I mountain bike a lot. And it's funny because he needs a walk once, twice a day. And at night, late at night my wife will oftentimes be like, “Could you take him out?” And I'm like, “Oh, sure I'll take one for the team and go mountain biking right now while you put the kids to bed.” So it works out pretty well.
Laura: Well I'm wondering, you're talking about how you can't run and pivot and do all these things, but you coach your kids soccer teams. How does that go?
Zacc: It's hard, I mean sometimes. We had practice last night. Oftentimes, I won't get in the mix as much, which I used to love actually playing with them. But if I play a wing defender position in the scrimmaging, my boys are only eleven turning twelve and they're not quite to the level where the game is moving so fast that I can't just keep up okay with them. I mean, like yesterday there was a time a kid beat me and I just walked in, let him score. And it's painful inside because I'm so competitive, but it's a twelve year old boy so I don't need to destroy him. So I like getting out there. Coaching is a lot more about where you put them on the field, what are the kids' strengths and how is your formation as well as what do they need to work on individually? And there's so much, there's so many other things from a strategy standpoint that keeps you entertained, right? So that's another thing I forgot to mention that I coach two competitive soccer teams, my daughter and my son. And so there's almost a practice or a game every night. So I come to work, work all day, practice or game every night, and then hang out with my family for a couple hours. Kids are going to bed. I put on the lights, go mountain bike, come back home, get ready for the next day.
Shannon: Did you play soccer when you were younger?
Zacc: Yeah I did, lots of it. Loved it but yeah, it's actually, I think it is pretty awesome.
Shannon: So I wanted to ask one more question, wrap this up. You've been talking enough.
Zacc: I'm glad, I'm glad. I feel like we're so far in the clear. I mean, we did so good. Go ahead.
Shannon: How has Capita and how is this podcast different than competitors or others that
are out there?
Zacc: Hm, good question. I've been told…so I'm going to give feedback that we've been told because honestly you don't know how you're different until other people tell you that right? Because you think your world is normal and so that can be a really hard question to self-identify. It's like when I got married to my wife. And it's like, your family's weird, you know? Your family's weird and 10 years later, you're like, “Yeah my family's crazy.” It's that kind of concept, right? So I don't know if I could fully articulate what's different about Capita, but I've been told that this podcast does a really good job of demystifying some financial topics that other competitors I guess may make it seem more complicated than it needs to be. That we make it more accessible and more clear for people to be able to understand and take action. So I would say that's one.
What's coming next is something I've never seen before except for on a podcast called The Huberman Lab Podcast. Which is at the beginning of this podcast, he's a neuroscientist with Stanford University and he taught like an entire month and a half of weekly episodes on neuroscience and sleep and light. And that's it. And it was a very focused topic over and over and over again. But, he staged it so you needed to listen to episode one to understand two, to understand three and move forward. Like a college class basically. And then he moved on to focus and did five or six or seven episodes on focus and how the brain works. And to be honest with you, I understand maybe twenty percent of what he says because he uses so many terms and jargon that I struggle with. I almost need someone to repeat what he's done and dumb it down for me. So that's something that's maybe a good feedback for us Laura to think about - we really need to be careful of jargon, right?
But what's coming next in this podcast is called The Guided Path and it's modeled after what The Huberman Lab did. And it'll take people from one episode to the sixth episode in terms of simple to complex within eight different financial planning topics. I don't think that exists out there. And if it does, it's some sort of paid program that costs a whole lot of money. Or it's a college course or you know, something like that. So to have that built out like this in an accessible and friendly format, I think that's one of the main reasons that we're different.
I think one of the main reasons Capita is different is we tend to make life easier for our clients, easier than most. I find that a lot of financial advisors love it so much that they want to teach the client. It's almost like they accidentally are trying to teach the client to become a financial advisor. When in many cases the client wants nothing to do with it, which is why they're in the room in front of a financial advisor. So they need trust. They need to know you have you know their interests at heart, right? And that you're conscientious of what they need and care about. And once those things are in place and you're competent and know what you're doing, then they don't need you to teach them your job. They just need you to do your job. And I think that's something that Capita has figured out pretty well. And we've found the balance of, “I'll show you enough so you can have confidence and so that you can have a say in the overall direction as to what you're doing with your money, but I'm not going to make you be a financial planner in order to be a customer of ours.” We make it easy. Is that okay?
Laura: I love that.
Shannon: Yeah that's terrific. Thank you so much Zacc.
Laura: Awesome. Thanks Shannon, thanks for interviewing Zacc. We love to get to know a little bit more about you and your life and all the different things, so this has been fantastic. We're excited to be able to take you on this journey of The Guided Path. We'll see you next time.
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